FARMINGTON – At a public meeting on Tuesday, 65 voters from SAD 9’s nine towns gathered at Mt. Blue High School and approved the 17 warrant articles put before them. The resulting budget totaled $23.28 million, with $372,456 in federal stimulus funds, bringing the total to $23.65 million.

The budget represents a 1.28 percent, or $307,575, decrease from last year’s figure. With the budget amounts set, a validation vote will take place in the nine communities on May 27.

There was little discussion on the budget items, although the $748,664 request for system administration was briefly questioned. Superintendent Michael Cormier is eligible for retirement under Maine state retirement laws, but is voluntarily applying to be rehired by the SAD 9 Board of Directors.

“The savings for the district would be on benefits side and also no salary increases,” he pointed out. “The state of Maine passed a law in 2002 that allows people to return to work with no penalties whatsoever under that provision.”

Cormier added his current contract was to run through 2013.

“By retiring now, if I were to return, the board can set the terms of my contract for the future,” he said. “And they didn’t invite me to do that.”

Cormier would collect both his salary and retirement benefits. The article passed with 56 in favor and 12 against.

Article 11 asked that citizens raise and appropriate no money for all other expenditures. Cormier noted that all Maine school districts are required by law to have the article, although SAD 9 had no expenditure requests for this cost center.

“If we were to raise money for the hot lunch program, or programs of that nature, we would put it in this article,” he said. “I believe there are other situations. Hot lunch is the most common one that occurs in the school district because it’s not part of the school budget. It’s what we call an enterprise account; it’s run like a separate business.”

Other articles that passed included $311,862 for adult education with $88,554 as the local share; $8,954,631 for regular instruction; $2,598,655 for special education; $1,287,685 for career and technical education; $2,016,966 for student and staff support; $396,736 for other instruction; $1,065,697 for school administration; $1,805,099 for transportation and buses; and $3,448,097 for facilities maintenance.

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